Veterans Center hosts welcome for new and returning students in military


Director Cardenas (left) and Student Senate Speaker Brayden Smith (Right) conversing at welcome event. Photo by Beau Sansom

Beau Sansom, Staff Reporter

CWU’s Veterans Center joined forces with various campus partners to host their annual fall welcome event for new and returning students in the military and their families. 

Held in the SURC 137A, attendees were treated with complimentary food and drinks provided by CWU dining services.

The welcome event is an opportunity for students involved in the military to get connected with others on campus. 

The Veterans Center and their partners threw a raffle that centered on attendees filling out a paper slip that tracked them talking to different event sponsors to enter the raffle.

James Paton (student financial services) chatting with attendee. Photo by Beau Sansom

Director of the CWU Veterans Center, Ruben Cardenas, organized the event alongside his staff which includes three professional staff members as well as three student staff members working together to coordinate the event.

“We’re really trying to foster the development and establishment of our military affiliated community,” Cardenas said. “Not only do we serve veterans, we also serve current service members … and also family members that have received benefits from the service member.”

Present campus partners were able to shed light on resources available to students such as the Wellness Center, Learning Commons and Disability Services. 

The event also provided a space for students to mingle and get to know one another. 

“Being a new student, sometimes you feel like a small fish in a big pond,” Student Outreach Recruiter Andy McDonough said. “Having an event or space that makes sense to go to … it’s a great way to meet new people or make a friend … and get to meet the staff and different offices that work here.”

A table for the raffle sat in front of the room displaying various prizes attendees had a chance to win for completing their slip. 

“The event was nice, a lot of friendly people and they’re all very welcoming,” Mark Racho, a first-year student in the flight program, said. “I feel like I have a place in this school.”

Veteran Affairs work study students joined their fellow students in participating in the activities available. 

“Everybody deserves their event that’s built for them,” returning work study student Carson Biermanski said. “It was a lot of fun … There was a lot of cool people there that you got to meet. They answered all the questions. they’re very knowledgeable people and cool prizes so it’s tough to beat.”

Attendees mingling at welcome event. Photo by Beau Sansom

Not only were student attendees able to secure crucial resources, but the student workers who have been in their shoes were able to engage with newcomers and returning student veterans alike. 

Work study student and student senate representative, Dustin Jackson, said “I transferred into the school and I was new … It’s welcoming in the sense that there’s people here that care about you, but here’s actual resources to get you support as you go through your academic journey here and even after.”